SUNRISE, Fla. — The Boston Bruins flew home last night fresh off completing a two-game sweep of their Sunshine State road trip. Today they were scheduled to have an off day at home, and tomorrow they’ll host the Tampa Bay Lightning.
One player who’s probably getting a little extra enjoyment out of the rest day is defenseman Shane Hnidy, whose playing time has increased of late because of the injury bug that’s bit the defense corps. But Hnidy can also take a little satisfaction that his contribution during the road trip can now be quantified on the stat sheet — he scored his first goal of the year in the 4-0 win over Florida last night.
Albeit, the puck deflected in off of Panthers defenseman Nick Boynton’s skate, but as they always say, it looks like a wrister to the top corner in the box score. And Hnidy doesn’t care if he doesn’t get style points for scoring for the first time since last March.
“Just trying to get it on net,” Hnidy told thebruinsblog.net after the game. “We talked about putting the puck at the net tonight. I was fortunate it went off their guy. I know how it feels to be the D man in front when it goes off your skate.”
Earlier in the week, Bruins head coach Claude Julien said he’d like to see Hnidy shoot more. While he scored on his only shot against the Panthers, Hnidy fired five shots against Tampa Bay — two were blocked and three missed the net. Julien’s hoping to see even more of Hnidy’s less-prevalent offensive side in the weeks ahead.
“Well, hopefully he gains confidence from that goal tonight – just throwing that puck at the net,” the coach said. “And he’s one of those guys that has a pretty heavy shot from the back end.”